3 Trends The Staffing Industry Should Know About The Contingent Workforce

175198827Work just isn’t what it used to be. Contingent workforces, and what is known as the “gig economy,” are becoming the new norm. With the rapid growth in mobile-enabled workers, the staffing industry and HR departments will need to adjust how they meet staffing and hiring needs.

For talent acquisition and staffing agencies, the movement towards freelancers and contingent workforces has tremendous implications on the way employees are hired, sourced, and managed. From big data to the now ubiquitous use of smartphones, understanding the forces that are shaping workforces today is essential to the success of any staffing company. Looking onward to the year ahead, here are a few trends I see as being the most impactful.

Demographics Drive a Transition Towards Skills-Based Freelancing

Millennials, the largest demographic in the U.S. workforce, now make up 44 percent of the on-demand workforce. Staffing professionals must recognize that this is an entirely different generation than the Boomers and Gen Xers before them, with a different perspective about work and their careers.

Millennials want different perks, varied tasks, high-tech tools, new benefits, and most importantly, greater flexibility. As this generation continues to enter the workforce, their work preferences will be increasingly prevalent and they will undoubtedly look towards the advantages contingent labor offers to meet those preferences.

Expect companies to benefit from this transition towards a new generation of contingent workers as well. Instead of longer-term hires, companies will seek on-demand workers with the specific skills needed to complete a task – think freelance graphic designers and coders who are hired to complete a single project at a given time. For the staffing industry, this means having a broad network of highly skilled freelancers is now critical in providing clients with these valuable short-term workers.

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Embrace the Awesome Power of Big Data

Big Data has changed everything, workforces included. The abundance of data available to staffing and HR professionals is at an all-time high and has led to the development of labornomics, best described as hiring based primarily on data and statistics. While one can still find value in evaluating traditional cover letters and resumes, HR is entering a new phase of its existence. Today, valuable insight into successful hires can be pulled from large data sets thanks to advancements in data collection, algorithms and analytics. From candidate’s self-reported qualifications (education, professional experience, skills, etc.), staffing professionals can easily match an individual to a company’s open requisition.

As more and more staffing and HR professional turn toward big data tools to aid them in their work, there is in turn a greater importance of understanding the applications and proper use of these tools. Advanced technologies relating to big data will soon play an integral role in determining who gets the job, so take the time to understand the use and implementation of these tools. Data analysis is a powerful tool, but can provide users with false positives and negatives when not used appropriately. Avoiding these pitfalls of data analysis is simply a matter of understanding.

Master Today’s Technology For Tomorrow’s Success

The pace at which technological innovation occurs continues to accelerate, and the staffing industry will benefit tremendously.According to a McKinsey study, new technologies and online platforms that connect talent with available work have the potential to increase global GDP by $2.7 trillion.

In order to compete, staffing companies will need to gain an intimate understanding of the technologies in use today. How do they operate? How can they benefit me and the clients I represent? Staying on the forefront of this innovation is key to your continued success, so educate yourself. There are many online resources which allow you to learn the in’s and out’s of nearly every HR technology on the market today quickly and affordably.

The growing Millennial workforce, big data, and recent technical innovations are only a few influencers of today’s changing workforce. As people continue to gravitate towards the on-demand worker lifestyle, staffing firms are poised to emerge as the resources for these workers – sourcing and connecting free agents, and enabling them to maintain the flexible schedule and work they desire. Staffing firms would be wise to take advantage of this enormous opportunity today, positioning themselves as the leaders of tomorrow.

David Hale

David Hale
David Hale is CEO of Gigwalk.

David Hale

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